After a thrilling season full of epic victories and close calls, your team has finally qualified for a bowl game. If that game is the Sun Bowl here in El Paso, you're in luck. The Sun Bowl has been played in abundant desert sunshine since 1935, and today it's held at a 51,500-seat stadium carved into the side of a mountain. Whether you're here to cheer on your team or to take in all the festivities of bowl game weekend, you'll find far more going on in El Paso than just the game itself. So pack your favorite team shirt, and perhaps some sunscreen, and check out these things you can do while you're here for the Sun Bowl.
Prep for the Big Game at the Sun Bowl Fan Fiesta
Although you’re here for the game itself, there’s far more to the Sun Bowl than what happens on the field. It all kicks off at the Sun Bowl Fan Fiesta, a free and fun-for-the-whole-family event held at the Judson F. Williams Convention Center from 3 – 9 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 31. Listen to bands and mariachi players, watch dance groups and magicians and check out the battle of the bands from both universities. There will even be free balloon animals and face painting for younger football fans, as well as 12 inflatable and interactive games you can play (with the purchase of a $5 wrist band). Take in all the pregame festivities and you’ll be ready for all the action of the Sun Bowl.
Pregame at the Visit El Paso Tailgate Party
Tailgating is a sacred college football tradition, but our own party takes it to the next level. Starting at 7 a.m. on game day, the Visit El Paso Tailgate Party is the place to go to get a true taste of the Sun City. Try something tasty made by one of several local food trucks and taste a range of salsas and tequilas as local bands play in the background. Stick around for your chance at winning one of the giveaways, enjoy the lively atmosphere and you’ll be ready for kick off.
Welcome the New Year in Our Historic Neighborhoods
The fun doesn’t end when the final whistle blows. In fact, it’s just getting started. Since the game ends just hours before the year ends, you can celebrate the arrival of 2020 like a true El Pasoan. Start in the Downtown Entertainment District, where you’ll find cozy hangouts like Later, Later and Blackbird Cantina. DeadBeach Brewery, also located in the district, is the place to go for hoppy IPAs, savory stouts and a tantalizing array of other sessionable ales and lagers. Along with the beer, DeadBeach serves salads and a mouthwatering selection of pizzas.
Of course, the Downtown Entertainment District isn’t the only part of town where you can welcome the new year. The Cincinnati Entertainment District is home to a few New Year’s Eve hotspots as well, starting with the Rockin’ Cigar Bar & Grill. Sink your teeth into the world-famous garlic burger, order cocktails made with top-shelf liquor and try a high-end cigar from the humidor. With its energetic vibe, this is a good spot if you’re after a livelier night out. There’s more fast-paced fun to be had at Geogeskes, an upscale restaurant that turns into a hip lounge where you can savor specialty cocktails and dance the night away. No matter how you like to party on New Year’s Eve, you’ll find the place for you here in El Paso.
Enjoy El Paso Winterfest’s Holiday Cheer
Glide across the smooth surface of an ice-skating rink illuminated by pale blue Christmas lights. Step into a festive snow globe for a one-of-a-kind holiday photo with your family. Let the sweet aromas of donuts tickle your nose as you browse the wares of local artisans. These are a few of the ways to embrace the magic of the holidays during El Paso Winterfest, which takes over downtown El Paso through Jan. 5.
One of Winterfest’s main attractions is the ice-skating rink, where you can slide along or sip on a hot cocoa as you watch your kids skate from the heated tent nearby. Then browse The Winter Market and admire the El Paso Electric Winterfest Tree before taking in more than 400,000 holiday lights in San Jacinto Plaza. Christmas may be over, but you can still find yuletide joy here in El Paso.
Explore Downtown El Paso by Streetcar
Proudly painted in pastel green, they look like they’ve been plucked from a bygone era. Instead, our new streetcars offer the newest, and coolest, way to experience downtown El Paso. The route follows Stanton and Oregon streets from the Glory Road Transit Center down to Father Rahm Avenue, passing an abundance of attractions, restaurants and shops along the way. Discover the area’s rich multicultural and multinational past at the El Paso Museum of History, then ride the streetcar down to the El Paso Museum of Art to see American, European and Mexican art dating back to the 16th century. You can even ride the streetcars to the Fan Fiesta, El Paso Winterfest, San Jacinto Plaza and many of the New Year’s Eve spots we mentioned earlier in this article.
Not only are our streetcars convenient (and stylish), but they also have free Wi-Fi. How can you beat that?
Stay in One of Our Boutique Hotels
Sleek, stylish and modern, our boutique hotels aren't just a place you stay; they're something you experience. Located within a 100-year-old, four-story building, Stanton House is an upscale hotel filled with contemporary art and comfortable rooms where you can enjoy the in-house restaurant and a spectacular view of the downtown area from the rooftop patio. Right across the street, Aloft El Paso Downtown's well-appointed guest rooms and suites, on-site bar and lounge and state-of-the-art fitness center afford the kind of stay that'll have you coming back for more.
Meanwhile, at the Hotel Indigo, you'll admire sunset and mountain views from your room with floor-to-ceiling windows, the rooftop patio with a pool or the fitness center. Stop by the on-site restaurant for breakfast, lunch or dinner, then sip on a locally made beer or a creative cocktail as you listen to live music in the lounge.
Stay in any of these hotels and you'll be just steps away from the El Paso Streetcar line, making each an ideal starting point to exploring the area while you're here for the Sun Bowl.
Soak Up the Desert Sunshine
If you've never been to El Paso in the winter before, you'll quickly learn they don't call it the Sun Bowl for no reason. Along with the plentiful sunshine, daytime temperatures are firmly in the high 50s, a far sight warmer than most places in the country. Given the favorable weather, it's a great time to soak up as much of that desert sun as you can. Head over to Franklin Mountains State Park, home to more than 100 miles of rugged hiking and biking trails that wind through cactus-covered valleys and along the slopes of high-desert mountains. At Hueco Tanks State Park & Historic Site, you'll explore even more hiking trails as you admire rocky hills that have drawn people for thousands of years. Look close enough and you may even spot ancient Native American pictographs, a nice bonus to a day out in the abundant sunshine.
Our awesome winter weather and spectacular scenery sets the stage for one of the best games in college football. Cheer on your team and discover everything else we have to offer while you’re here. Whether you want to stay for longer or come back one day, you’re always welcome in the Sun City.